You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : October 1998

Control of Mind - Part 5 ( Role of Yoga)

Ramanbil_at_aol.com
Date: Mon Oct 05 1998 - 06:20:26 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas:
Presented below is Part 5 on Control of Mind (Role of Yoga)
Dasoham
Anbil Ramaswamy
Control of Mind - Part 5 (Role of Yoga)
There are several Mudras adopted in Yoga  as well as in Natya Sastra (Dance)
like 
Abhaya mudra (Protection from fear), 
Anjali mudra (Reverential submission), 
Chin mudra (Transmission of Knowledge), 
Dhyana mudra (Meditative), 
Gokarna mudra (Ear of the cow), 
Surabhi mudra (linking of specified fingers in specified ways to resemble the
udder of a cow), 
Grasa mudra (stretching out the Index and little fingers rolling back the
other fingers of the right hand) 
and many more. 
In Hata Yoga there are certain weird mudras practiced by Kundalini enthusiasts
like 
Khecharimudra (lengthening the tongue), 
Vipareetakarani mudra (an exercise of keeping the head down and legs up
dangling in the air), 
Pasini mudra (wrapping legs around the neck like a neck tie), 
Kaka mudra (contracting lips and trying to imitate a crow).

The votaries of Hata Yoga draw inspiration from quite a number of authorities
and quite a lot of adherents have extolled the virtues of such Hatayoga as
conferring steadiness and control of the senses as well as the mind and the
intellect, which when attained make an individual completely faultless and
unoffending. It is believed that in yoga, vortices penetrate the body and the
body's aura and are the conduits through which various energies including the
universal life-force are received, transformed and distributed throughout the
body.

SVETASWATARA UPANISHAD II 12 AND 13 says: Yogi's body shines with the fire of
yoga.           

YOGA VASISHTA(VI), A POEM OF 50 STORIES TOLD IN 29,000 VERSES BY SAGE VALMIKI
in the form of a dialog between Sri RAMA and his Guru, Vasishta describes Yoga
as a device that helps in reaching the other shore of the stream of sorrow.

PATANJALI'S YOGASUTRA I.2 describes yoga as a state in which there is complete
elimination of the thoughts and modifications of the mind. 

GHERANDA SAMHITA an authoritative text on Hatayoga and 
HATAYOGA PRADEEPIKA claim that Asanas bring mental and physical steadiness and
make for perfect health and suppleness of the body.

While all these claims are not without foundation, Yoga has to be practiced
with utmost caution. An incorrect practice or one that involves more strain
that what an individual could bear will not only neutralize the benefits but
will prove to be positively counter productive.  Hatayoga is claimed to be
'forceful yoga ' but actually, it is yoga 'by force.'

The futility of such Yoga is well explained in 
JNANESWARA'S ANUBHAVAMRUTHA IX-27 and 
MAITREYI UPANISHAD II-32.

Those who practice Hata Yoga specializing in Kundalini seem to develop a
'holier than thou' attitude quite unjustifiably not knowing that it is a
double edged weapon with some advantages if followed within prescribed limits
under proper guidance and positively harmful when practiced indiscriminately.
Kundalini is a dangerous exercise for one who is not adequately initiated or
supervised by an adept.

IF ONE MEDDLES WITH IT, IT WILL BE A SHORT CUT TO A MENTAL HOSPITAL BUT WHAT
IS WORSE IS THE KIND OF DAMAGE THEY CAN CAUSE TO THEMSELVES AND TO OTHERS
BEFORE ACTUALLY LANDING UP THERE.  ALSO, IN THE HANDS OF THE UNSCRUPULOUS,
THESE TARTAR TECHNIQUES CAN TURN OUT TO BE 'BLACK MAGIC' (AABHICHARA).
(To Continue)